The expert team, set up by the Centre to study the water deficit in Cauvery basin, on Friday held a preparatory meeting in Bengaluru with representatives from all the four riparian state.
The panel is scheduled to visit the four reservoirs—KRS, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavathy over the next two days. The team would survey the basin and the dams in Karnataka before proceeding to Tamil Nadu.
Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil apprised the central team, headed by Central Water Commission Chairman G.S. Jha, of the prevailing situation in the Cauvery basin area and the water level in four reservoirs.
"We have declared drought in 42 taluks in the Cauvery basin. The state needs at least 67tmc water for the standing crops and for drinking purposes till June. But the reservoirs have only 25tmc water. We advised our farmers to sow semi-dry crops this season and sowing has been restricted to 6.15 lakh acres against a total cultivatable land of 18.5 lakh acres. Of this, 1.88 lakh acres of crops have dried up due to water scarcity, while the fate of the remaining 4.27 lakh acres is dependent on what the state government decides," said Patil.
Karnataka also briefed the panel about the situation in Tamil Nadu, saying Tamil Nadu has enough water stored in Mettur dam to provide for the samba (second) crop. And the lower riparian state is expected to get good rains in November and December, according to the meteorological department.
The Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 2,000cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till October 17, and sought the submission of the expert panel report on the same day.